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Parking fee for Cook County jurors scrapped

Jurors and law enforcement officials will be spared having to pay a parking fee at Cook County courthouses after all.

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle had recommended that drivers pay a $4.75 daily charge at the courthouses as part of her budget proposal. Some county commissioners balked at the prospect of jurors having to pay to park while fulfilling a civic duty.

On Tuesday, county officials announced jurors and law enforcement officers would get their parking validated instead.

“While our primary task is to create an effective and efficient budget for the operations of county government, I didn’t believe that it was fair to do so on the backs of jurors performing their civic duties or on law enforcement officers assisting our criminal justice system,” Commissioner John Fritchey, D-Chicago, said in a statement.

Preckwinkle credited Fritchey for helping her office find money elsewhere in the budget so that jurors and law enforcement could be exempt from the parking fee. Savings instead were identified in staff training, transportation, expenses, graphics and printing services, and miscellaneous purchases, as well as a proposed consolidation of the print shop in the Clerk of Circuit Court’s office into the Bureau of Administration, Preckwinkle’s office said.

The change will cost the county $700,000, the administration said. Now the parking charge is expected to bring in about $3.3 million. If it passes, it would take effect in about six months.

The County Board is scheduled to vote on Preckwinkle’s $2.94 billion spending plan on Nov. 18.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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